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Beatrice Wood

Biography to Display: 

1893Born, San Francisco, California

1998Died, Ojai, California

EDUCATION

UnknownStudied acting at the Comedie-Francaise, Paris

UnknownStudied painting at the Academie Julian, Paris

1938Studied ceramics with Glen Lukens

PRIMARY WORK EXPERIENCE

1947Independent Studio Potter, Ojai, California

 

Beatrice Wood, or “Beato,” began working with clay after moving to Southern California in 1933. She led an eccentric, artistic career before her formal ceramics training began by immersing herself in the New York Dada and Modern art scenes of the early twentieth century. When she moved back to California, she studied first with Glen Lukens and later with Gertrud and Otto Natzler. In contrast to the formal work of the Natzlers, Wood threw loosely formed vessels reflective of her interest in Bohemian styles and folk art. She developed a series of characteristic all over lustre glazes, achieved by reduction firings. Her early work features these glazes on utilitarian dinnerware and domestic vessels. She soon moved onto more complicated forms and structures. Wood also made a number of tile paintings that referenced her early associations with the Cubist and Dada artists, including Marcel Duchamp.

In 1947, Wood built a house and studio in Ojai, California. During her lifetime, her work was recognized in exhibitions at major museums including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She became friends with fellow ceramists Vivika and Otto Heino who would later purchase her Ojai house and studio and, her former teachers of lustre glazes. Her second home, Happy Valley, is now the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts, responsible for the legacy of Wood’s long artistic career. Beatrice Wood passed away in 1998 at the age of 105. 

An interview with Beatrice Wood conducted August 26, 1976 by Paul Karlstrom, for the Nanette Laitman Documentation Project for the Archives of American Art is available at:
http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/interviews/oral-history-interview-beatrice-wood-12423.

Public Collections

Bibliography

Bibliography to Display: 

Clark, Garth. Gilded Vessel: The Lustrous Life and Art of Beatrice Wood. Madison, WI: Guild Publishing, 2001.

Wallace, Marlene. Playing Chess with the Heart: Beatrice Wood at 100. New York, NY: Chronicle Books, 1994.  

Wood, Beatrice. I Shock Myself: The Autobiography of Beatrice Wood. New York, NY: Chronicle Books, 1985.

_____, Beatrice. The Angel Who Wore Black Tights. Rogue Press, 1982.

 

 

Typical Marks
1942
1943
1943 or 1948
1943 or 1948
1960s
1960s
ca. 1974
ca. 1985
1985-1988
Woman with Flowers
Date: 1942
Form: Tile
Materials: Colored Clay
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection
Clown Figurine
Date: 1943
Materials: Earthenware
Method: Hand Built
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection
Two Circus Clowns Riding Horses
Date: 1943 or 1948
Form: Sculpture
Materials: Earthenware
Method: Hand Built
Surface Technique: Glaze
E. John Bullard Collection
E. John Bullard Collection
Fish
Date: ca. 1947
Materials: Earthenware
Method: Hand Built
Surface Technique: Glaze
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 47.126.2, Purchase, Edward C. Moore Jr. Gift, 1947
Photo: TMP
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 47.126.2, Purchase, Edward C. Moore Jr. Gift, 1947
Photo: TMP
Pin
Date: 1960s
Materials: Earthenware
Method: Hand Built
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection
Vessel
Date: 1960s
Form: Vessel
Materials: Earthenware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection
Gold Chalice
Date: 1974
Form: Vessel
Materials: Earthenware
Method: Thrown and Altered
Surface Technique: Glaze
Michele and Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, Massachusetts, gift of Collectors's Club, supplemented by Museum Deaccession funds
Photo: Diane Waterhouse Barbarisi
Michele and Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, Massachusetts, gift of Collectors's Club, supplemented by Museum Deaccession funds
Photo: Diane Waterhouse Barbarisi
Bowl
Date: ca. 1985
Form: Bowl
Materials: Earthenware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze, Luster
Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation
Photo: Creative Commons-BY
Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation
Photo: Creative Common-BY
Blue Chalice
Date: 1985-1988
Form: Vessel
Materials: Earthenware
Method: Thrown and Altered
Surface Technique: Glaze, Luster
Margaret Pennington Collection
Photo: John Polak
Margaret Pennington Collection
Photo: John Polak
Tea Pot
Date: ca. 1990
Form: Teapot
Materials: Earthenware
Method: Thrown and Altered
Surface Technique: Glaze, Luster
Photo: Loren Maron
Photo: Loren Maron

Citation: "The Marks Project." Last modified September 16, 2017. http://www.themarksproject.org:443/marks/wood